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Ministry Status: Routine Monitoring and Engagement

Ontario Public Drug Programs


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In 2006, the government committed to reforming the public drug system through the Transparent Drug System for Patients Act, 2006, which made changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit Act and the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act. The Act enables the implementation of the government’s plan to create a stronger, more effective system in five key areas:

  • Improving patient access to drugs
  • Ensuring better value for money
  • Promoting the appropriate use of medications
  • Investing in innovative health system research
  • Strengthening the transparency and accountability in the public drug system

Ontario Public Drug Programs was formally established in April 2007, led by an Executive Officer and with staff from the former Drug System Secretariat and Drug Programs Policy and Strategy Branch. Legislation gives the Executive Officer a number of powers that previously resided with Cabinet and the Minister, including the mandate to:

  • Administer the Ontario Public Drug Programs
  • Keep, maintain and publish the Formulary
  • Make the Act apply regarding the coverage of drugs that are not listed drug products as provided through the exceptional access program (Section 16 of the Ontario Drug Benefit Act (ODBA)).
  • Designate products as listed drug products, listed substances and designated pharmaceutical products and to remove and modify those designations
  • Designate products as interchangeable with other products under the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act and to remove or modify those designations
  • Negotiate agreements with manufacturers of drug products, agree with manufacturers as to the drug benefit price of listed drugs, negotiate drug benefit prices for listed substances and set drug benefit prices for designated pharmaceutical products
  • Make payments under Ontario Public Drug Programs
  • Establish clinical criteria under Section 23 of the ODBA
  • Pay operators of pharmacies for professional services and determining the amount of payment.

These changes will make the public drug system more efficient by allowing the Executive Officer to:

  • Make faster decisions that are more responsive to patients, prescribers and manufacturers
  • Communicate decisions and rationale publicly
  • Partner with manufacturers to improve the process for listing drugs

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free)
In Toronto, (416) 314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm